‘Ravens will bring out best in us’

Bil­liat con­fi­dent Downs have all the re­sources, skills to de­feat five-time African champs TP Mazembe

The Star Late Edition - - SPORT - NJABULO NGIDI

KHAMA BIL­LIAT has played on some of the big­gest stages in the last four months, from the CAF Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal to the Fifa Club World Cup and the Africa Cup of Na­tions. Those high-pro­filed matches bring out the best in the Zim­bab­wean for­ward, which is why he is look­ing for­ward to Satur­day’s clash with TP Mazembe in the CAF Su­per Cup.

As the CAF Cham­pi­ons League win­ners, Mamelodi Sun­downs will host the CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup cham­pi­ons at Lof­tus Vers­feld. This ti­tanic clash against the five-time African cham­pi­ons will pre­pare the Brazil­ians well ahead of their new Cham­pi­ons League cam­paign, which starts next month.

“It is a big match,” Bil­liat said. “We are used to it now. These games are im­por­tant be­cause they give you an idea of how big you are. It’s a cup we would like to win to show where we stand in African foot­ball. The guys are look­ing for­ward to it. We just have to do what we do best. We wish we could play games like this every week­end, live in that space where you just play big games be­cause it takes your game to another level.”

The DRC giants, Mazembe, helped the Brazil­ians take their game to the next level. Mazembe elim­i­nated Sun­downs in the first round of the 2015 Cham­pi­ons League, win­ning the ti­tle that year. That match was a big les­son for Sun­downs, who scored just one goal at home to win 1-0 be­fore los­ing 3-1 in Lubum­bashi. Mazembe taught the Brazil­ians that you have to make the most of your home ad­van­tage. Sun­downs took that les­son to last year’s cam­paign.

“Our con­cen­tra­tion lev­els have to be high for 90 min­utes,” Bil­liat said. “They have achieved a lot but that doesn’t mean that much on the day. We are hun­gry to get the re­sult. The three games we have played in the league have pre­pared us for Mazembe. We had dif­fer­ent as­pects of our game tested in those three games which puts us in a good po­si­tion to take (them) on.”

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

Bor­ru­sia Dort­mund’s Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang is de­nied a goal from the spot by Ben­fica’s Eder­son in their Uefa Cham­pi­ons League round of 16, first Leg clash at the Es­ta­dio da Luz in Por­tu­gal on Tues­day night. Ben­fica won the tie 1-0.

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